The work I did in Kentucky was no joke. We never got a day off. Every morning started at 8 and usually the days ended with a ride back [in an unmarked van…I constantly voiced my dismay that we weren’t advertised as sanitarium patients] from a town 12-step meeting around 9pm.
We worked our asses off all day long.
I got through my life story my than once, my trauma timeline, and told the secret I was most ashamed of to the group until one day I could finally tell it without shaking and crying and having to go around and ask each person, “Do you think I’m disgusting? Do you want to run screaming from the room?”
It is unbelievable how much I learned about myself through the work and also seeing how others mirrored me. Group therapy is fantastic.
I did some anger work on issues from childhood that led to my being so shame-based and I also confirmed what I knew 16 years ago… that I’m a raging love/relationship/romance addict.
What I was anxious to get to was the grief work. I have had the hardest time getting over my marriage. I have been so sad. R and I separated (at my request) almost 2 years ago and divorced (at my request) over a year ago. I had no idea the pain would remain so omnipresent to this day.
I threw myself into the grief work. I did everything exactly as assigned and by the time I presented to the counselors and group, I cried and cried and waited for some sort of feeling of relief that never came. I just felt even more drained. Still, I thought I’d get a pat on the back for my effort and that I surely must be progressing through it.
The next day in group, a counselor expressed concern that mine wasn’t actually a “grief letter.” That it was more of a romantic fantasy letter. She said much more but I got confused. I followed the formula the letter was to follow.
Later I asked her and other counselors, and other clients, to explain to me what I did wrong. I want to grieve the divorce in a healthy way – just tell me what to do and I’ll do it!
For 2 days no one could say anything that made any sense to me regarding this assignment. I just couldn’t see what I should’ve done differently than pouring my guts about what I missed and what I lost and what I feel so sad about.
Then Tina came back to work. I loved something different about each counselor and with Tina, it was her always-slightly-irritated straightforwardness. “Did ya say ‘goodbye?'”
Holy shit I didn’t say “goodbye!”
And I realized, to be honest, I’m still NOT 100% READY to say goodbye! STILL!
Tina: “There ya go. That’s why it wasn’t a grief letter.”
Tonight I started a 10-week support group on Divorce Recovery. Here we go. Kill me now. This is a womens only group and I was taken aback at how the facilitators were allowing all the man-bashing. I kept thinking “Okay, I don’t have to ever come back again,” but something was telling me this may be what I need in a weird way.
Of the twenty-some women in that room, I was the only one who didn’t voice anything “done” to me. I only voiced what I’ve lost. What I miss. Remember the grief stages? There was a lot of anger in that room. And I remember one of my sweetest counselors in Kentucky saying it sounded like I was in the bargaining stage.
I have not gone through any significant anger towards R. I’ve gone through anger towards his addictions, toward my own, and even toward innocent Andrea! We would still be together had she not gotten involved. How sick? I know. I don’t WANT to be stuck in the bargaining stage. I don’t WANT us to try and get back together… to make it work. Why does my mind keep GOING THERE?
Because it can’t accept goodbye, yet. And it sucks.
Most of my anger has been towards God and myself. On the way to Kentucky I was talking about how much I hated God and yelled “FUCK HIM!” right as I looked out the window and saw a billboard with a gigantic red heart. Then we passed sculptures shaped liked hearts and a barn with a heart on one side…. I pretty much was barraged with hearts the entire 6 weeks I was in treatment. God can take my temper tantrums and just keeps on loving me.
Thankfully, I worked through my anger towards God and myself and WOW. What a load off.
But I haven’t worked through my anger towards R because I really haven’t ever been able to feel it. Weird! My blood actually started to BOIL at the meeting tonight when these women were painting their ex’s out to be devils and one of the leaders said in general to everyone, “This is not your fault.”
AHEM (I didn’t even raise my hand): “Excuse me. I disagree. In my case, this was 50% MY FAULT.”
And so she elaborated and seemed to start to make sense and for the first time some women chattered in a way that took at least some ownership in their situations.
We left with the leader saying next week’s topic would be anger. Of course it would.
I found my way out of the building saying, “God? I trust you. I know I’m with the women you want me to be with in this journey… but seriously?”
I opened the door to the parking lot. It’s a rainbow!
Of course it was. God has lots of fun messing with me all the time. To think just 2 months ago I had thought he’d forgotten all about me.